February 27, 2005

Awards Night

It's Oscars Night And I Just Don't Care

Why does Renee Zellwegger look like she's been lying facedown in a tub of Botox?

Oh, I'm sorry, I mean: Look at all the expensive dresses! Look at all the jewels! Isn't Virginia Madsen convincing as she claims her twisty blue dress is comfortable? Isn't Leonardo's suit... grey?

I will sit through the Oscars (trademark, blah blah) and dutifully report, but I'm not sure I'll manage to make it exciting, since... See title up above. As each winner is announced, I'll update the page, so refresh your browser window every now and then to see changes if you are reading this Sunday night as the awards are in progress.

8:18 pm: Good gracious. The ceremony doesn't even begin for 12 minutes and I'm already bored. And hungry. And depressed. And wondering why all the women have the same dress that hobbles their knees then flares out around their ankles like a mermaid's tail. Is that flattering? In my alternate-universe life in which I realised my dreams of becoming a filmmaker and am attending this ceremony and am probably far too inebriated to be bored, I am wearing a tux.

8:24 pm: First commercial break, for face cream and low-carb beer. Do you feel fat and wrinkly yet? Thank goodness Colin Mochrie is in the third commercial, dressed in a pink tutu as the snack fairy. I feel glamourous already.

8:30 pm: 77th Annual Academy Awards begin. Will Chris Rock manage to inject some sort of energy into this hoary, geriatric event? Or will hosting this event with its inevitable worn-out routines and tattered trappings, and the inevitable cleaning-up of his rough-edged comedy style, taint him with the same sort of curse that turned Captain Kirk and Bones into cranky, little old men? I'll let you know if he starts developing wrinkles or turning grey or speaking with a quaint old southern doctor accent.

8:33 pm: Nice cut from Howard Hughes' 1930s aviation movie to THE AVIATOR, from Orlando Bloom's Legolas to Errol Flynn's Robin Hood. Not so nice shot of all the actors straining their necks, craning to watch the montage on the overhead screens. Enter our host: "Welcome to the 77th and LAST Academy Awards." I never liked Chris Rock before this, but now I love him.

8:37 pm: Chris Rock proceeds to insult most of the actors in the hall, dividing the "real stars" (Eastwood, say) from everyone else. And they smile and laugh. My my.

8:40 pm: Chris Rock is still doing a straight standup routine, segueing from F911 to a Bush critique to Passion of the Gibson. I'm starting to enjoy myself. It might be because all I've had for Inside Food tonight is garlic croutons and a handful of wasabi peas.

8:42 pm: No, I'm not going to recap every couple of minutes of the ceremony. That would be not so much crazy, as suicidal. I'll get back to you when something really happens.

8:43 pm: I lied, I'm back. Here is Halle Berry presenting for Achievement in Art Direction. Mother thinks her dress looks like one of the straps was accidentally ripped off in a freak limo accident.

Nominees:
  • THE AVIATOR - Art Direction: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
  • FINDING NEVERLAND - Art Direction: Gemma Jackson; Set Decoration: Trisha Edwards
  • LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS - Art Direction: Rick Heinrichs; Set Decoration: Cheryl A. Carasik
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - Art Direction: Anthony Pratt; Set Decoration: Celia Bobak
  • A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT - Art Direction: Aline Bonetto
I'm rooting for NEVERLAND, for its whimsy. I imagine PHANTOM is the most spectacular choice, though. The Oscar goes to THE AVIATOR, because of... oh, I dunno... the blue greenpeas? Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo make their speech short and sweet. No cringing!

8:47 pm: Renee Zellwegger wobbles out awkwardly in her mermaid dress. Did she botox her knees?

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Alan Alda in THE AVIATOR
  • Thomas Haden Church in SIDEWAYS
  • Jamie Foxx in COLLATERAL
  • Morgan Freeman in MILLION DOLLAR BABY
  • Clive Owen in CLOSER
I liked Alan Alda. But then, I didn't see the other movies. Bad Outside Food Critic. No cookie. No crouton, either. Morgan Freeman is the likeliest choice, with his history of nominations. I'm not entirely sure why Jamie Foxx was nominated. The Oscar goes to: Morgan Freeman. His speech is short and sweet. And short. The Star Trek theme ushers him off the stage, and I am confused, but bemused.

8:52 pm: Pepsi commercial in which Tony Curtis, a thousand chained rebellious slaves, and a Roman soldier all claim to be Spartacus in order to get Kirk Douglass' soda. Bet you didn't know Spartacus led a zombie army.

8:54 pm: Robin Williams pulled out of the excelsior to announce Best Animated in a bright fuschia shirt. He's looking slim and trim and extraordinarily sane.

The tux cut for men this year appears to be a cinched-in waist; I feel the 1930s creeping up behind me.

Animated Feature Film of the Year:
  • THE INCREDIBLES Brad Bird
  • SHARK TALE Bill Damaschka
  • SHREK 2 Andrew Adamson
The winner is THE INCREDIBLES, which has not yet been boycotted for supporting transgender bartenders or wearing square pants.

8:59 pm: Cate Blanchett stands in the audience for some reason to announce the nominees for makeup.

Achievement in Makeup
  • LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS Valli O'Reilly and Bill Corso
  • THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST Keith Vanderlaan and Christien Tinsley
  • THE SEA INSIDE Jo Allen and Manuel García
The Oscar goes to LEMONY SNICKET, which does deserve it. Weirdly, they get their Oscars near their seats, where a microphone is set up for their speech. What, are they up in the back of the balcony and couldn't be allowed down near the stage?

9:02 pm: Drew Barrymore, not in a mermaid dress, introduces the performance of the first song nomination. She looks sparkly and beautiful, but also a bit like Captain Janeway from Voyager. Beyoncé sings "Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" in a yellow, green, and orange dress that looks like your great-aunt's lawn furniture, bobbly earrings last seen in a 60s bead curtain doorway, and a warbly voice. The full list of nominees in this category, who will no doubt be spread throughout the ceremony to provide entertainment, is:

Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
  • "Accidentally In Love" from SHREK 2 Music by Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immergluck, Matthew Mallery and David Bryson; Lyric by Adam Duritz and Daniel Vickrey
  • "Al Otro Lado Del Río" from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES Music and Lyric by Jorge Drexler
  • "Believe" from THE POLAR EXPRESS Music and Lyric by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri
  • "Learn To Be Lonely" from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyric by Charles Hart
  • "Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" from THE CHORUS (CHORISTES) Music by Bruno Coulais; Lyric by Christophe Barratier
9:06 pm: There is a commercial break, and some of the adverts attempt to be clever, and I just don't care anymore. I see that this event is supposed to last another 2-1/2 hours. I might need some rum.

9:12 pm: Chris Rock interviews ordinary people at the movies on which films they've seen. Aren't black people funny? They don't watch the same movies you and I do. Martin Lawrence ends the segment with a big bug-eyed expression. Ha ha. Where's the rum? Fortunately we move quickly to Scarlett Johanssen discussing the the Scientific and Technical Awards that nobody cares about but should. Merit for Engineering and Development of a Camera crane apparently used on TROY or ALEXANDER or some other movie with men in skirts, is given to David Samuelson and two French men whose names I miss, another award for a crane used in LEMONY SNICKET award given to Horst Burbulla. Lifetime Achievement to Tak Miyagashima, whose speech excerpt is charming and funny. I wish I had been there to hear the whole thing. Scarlett implores us to applaud, but we are really applauding the next presenter, Pierce Brosnan, who has scratchy-throat. He presents Costume Design with an animated character from THE INCREDIBLES.

Achievement in Costume Design
  • THE AVIATOR Sandy Powell
  • FINDING NEVERLAND Alexandra Byrne
  • LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS Colleen Atwood
  • RAY Sharen Davis
  • TROY Bob Ringwood (let's hear it for a thousand yards of blue batik!)
Sandy Powell wins for THE AVIATOR. I suppose recreating Ava Gardner's hat without making the actress fall over was deserving of the award alone.

9:19 pm: Tim Robbins presents, with no ado at all, and also looking incredibly slim (or is it just me? maybe I need new glasses):

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
  • Cate Blanchett in THE AVIATOR
  • Laura Linney in KINSEY
  • Virginia Madsen in SIDEWAYS
  • Sophie Okonedo in HOTEL RWANDA
  • Natalie Portman in CLOSER
I'd love it if Sophie Okonedo won for her heartwrenching performance through every part of the spectrum of human emotion, but I doubt she has a chance against Cate Blanchett, the frontrunner for channelling the legendary Kate Hepburn. The winner is: Cate Blanchett. No one is surprised. We all admire her collarbone.

They promise us Orlando Bloom after the commercial break. I still need rum.

9:25 pm: Nostalgia-fest time. Clips of Johnny Carson hosting the Oscars, including a bit with Miss Piggy, the ultimate Hollywood star, and commentary from Whoopi Goldberg, off somewhere sitting in a comfy chair. Surprisingly not followed by the "People who died who you didn't realise were still alive" montage, which will make me cry.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who is about 11 years old tonight, presents Documentary Feature
  • BORN INTO BROTHELS (THINKFilm) Ross Kauffman and Zana Brisk; A Red Light Films, Inc. Production
  • THE STORY OF THE WEEPING CAMEL (THINKFilm) Luigi Falorni and Byambasuren Davaa; A Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München Production
  • SUPER SIZE ME (Roadside Attractions/Samuel Goldwyn Films) Morgan Spurlock; A Kathbur Productions/The Con Production (my personal favourite)
  • TUPAC: RESURRECTION (Paramount) Lauren Lazin and Karolyn Ali; An MTV - Amaru Entertainment, Inc. Production
  • TWIST OF FAITH Kirby Dick and Eddie Schmidt; A Chain Camera Pictures Production
My personal favourite is SUPER SIZE ME, but the Academy might go for something a bit heavier, if you'll pardon the expression. BORN INTO BROTHELS seems the most likely, and, yes, it wins. I should maybe try to see it. Zana Brisk's yellow dress hurts my eyes, as does her peculiar cleavage.

Kirsten Dunst and Orlando Bloom present together, and young women throughout the world yell at her to get away from him.

Achievement in Film Editing
  • THE AVIATOR Thelma Schoonmaker
  • COLLATERAL Jim Miller and Paul Rubell
  • FINDING NEVERLAND Matt Chesse
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY Joel Cox
  • RAY Paul Hirsch
THE AVIATOR was, actually, poorly edited. There may be an impetus to let it sweep everything but best picture, but it truly was poorly edited. And, in fact, it wins, in spite of sloppy, obvious continuity flaws. "Long movie" and "visual effects" and "things moving fast" doesn't automatically equal "well edited."

Mike Myers is next (did the announcer just call him "adorable"?). He introduces Counting Crows singing a song from SHREK 2, "Accidentally in Love." Strum strum. La la. Lead singer Adam Duritz wins for Best Hairstyle of the evening.

9:37 pm: We break for commercials again to the strains of "Beyond the Sea." Now I seem to be craving rum poured over ice cream. This might indicate a vitamin deficiency, no doubt brought on by lack of movie-going—since I get most of my nutrition from my outside food selections.

9:43 pm: Adam Sandler and Catherine Zeta-Jones are out next—well, Adam Sandler, anyway. Oh, I see, Chris Rock comes out to take her place and read her lines. It is a bit. A funny bit. Oh, ha ha. I think we are supposed to understand the actors know how lame their bit is. I think. I hope.

Best Screenplay Adapted from Another Source:
  • BEFORE SUNSET Screenplay by Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke; Story by Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan
  • FINDING NEVERLAND Screenplay by David Magee
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY Screenplay by Paul Haggis
  • THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES Screenplay by José Rivera
  • SIDEWAYS Screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
The Oscar goes to... (SIDEWAYS?) Yes, SIDEWAYS. I win. Take a shot of champagne.

Zhiyi Zhang (HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS) and Jake Gyllenhaal are the next presenters. The actress is lovely but her accent is impenetrable. Her dress, however, is see-through.

Achievement in Visual Effects:
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN Roger Guyett, Tim Burke, John Richardson and Bill George
  • I, ROBOT John Nelson, Andrew R. Jones, Erik Nash and Joe Letteri
  • SPIDER-MAN 2 John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier
John Dykstra, et al win for SPIDER-MAN 2. Dykstra... didn't he do Battlestar Galactica—the real one, with the quilted uniforms and the guys with shaggy hair over their ears and the plastic models? And he did Star Wars, of course. Well, yeah.

The head of the Academy comes out to make the Patriotic Speech, and to push showing movies to the troops. Al Pacino comes scruffily out to present the lifetime achievement hoohaw honourary Oscar blah blah award to Sidney Lumet (DOG DAY AFTERNOON, THE PAWNBROKER, 12 ANGRY MEN, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, SERPICO, etc.). We get to see him as a boy actor, and that is just adorable. We also see a clip of Christopher Walken looking younger than Leo DiCaprio in THE ANDERSON TAPES. Sidney Lumet comes out and is given time to chitchat. Mother tells me he is (or possibly was) married to Lena Horne's daughter, she thinks, maybe. I just don't know these things. I hear Lumet mention Jean Vigeau (whose name I do not know how to spell) and my mind is scrambled for several minutes with visions of Viggo Mortensen (whose name I know how to spell).

After a commercial break during which I cannot find the rum and must settle for a berry-adulterated Sprite, Emmy Rossum struggles out in her red mermaid dress and introduces the song from the PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, "Learn to be Lonely," with Andrew Lloyd Webber accompanying Beyoncé on the piano. She is wearing an entirely different chandelier this time, and black goop on her eyelids. Later, the Phantom will send her necklace crashing into the audience.

"Comedy Superstar" Jeremy Irons is introduced by Chris Rock. He, like Cate Blanchett, is doing his presentation from the audience. I dig his weird collar-less tux and tie-less shirt... thing.

Live Action Short Film
  • EVERYTHING IN THIS COUNTRY MUST Gary McKendry; A Six Mile LLC Production
  • LITTLE TERRORIST Ashvin Kumar; An Alipur Films Production
  • 7:35 IN THE MORNING Nacho Vigalondo; An Ibarretxe & Co. Production
  • TWO CARS, ONE NIGHT Taika Waititi and Ainsley Gardiner; A Defender Films Limited Production
  • WASP Andrea Arnold; A Cowboy Films Production
WASP wins, and we get a look at how long Jeremy Irons' overcoat is as he hands the statuette to Andrea Arnold at her seat, who calls her award "the dog's bollocks."

Laura Linney's presentation is wiped out by a Coastal Flood Warning here. Red screen, ALERT ALERT ALERT. This is not a test. You may panic freely. I IM Research Assistant Robin to get an update on the awards ceremony, rather than moving to high ground.

She reports:

Best Animated Short Film
  • BIRTHDAY BOY Sejong Park and Andrew Gregory; An Australian Film, TV and Radio School Production
  • GOPHER BROKE Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller; A Blur Studio Production
  • GUARD DOG Bill Plympton; A Bill Plympton Production
  • LORENZO Mike Gabriel and Baker Bloodworth; A Walt Disney Pictures Production
  • RYAN Chris Landreth; A Copper Heart Entertainment & National Film Board of Canada Production
The winner is Chris Landreth for RYAN. An Award for Research Assistant Robin, who reports: Chrissy boy is still talking ... lessee ... presenter coming out is Kate Winslet. Thank you, Robin!

Cinematography, presented by Kate Winslet, appears on the screen after the warning fades.

Achievement in Cinematography:
  • THE AVIATOR Robert Richardson
  • HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS Zhao Xiaoding
  • THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST Caleb Deschanel (a sop to the movie's fans? the cinematography was bargain basement)
  • THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA John Mathieson
  • A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT Bruno Delbonnel
Robert Richardson wins for THE AVIATOR. Okay, now I can worry about the coastal floods in peace without having to be irritated by THE PASSION winning.

10:20 pm: Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek come on stage after a funny Price Waterhouse bit, demonstrating cleavage that should win for best special effects.

Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • THE AVIATOR Tom Fleischman and Petur Hliddal
  • THE INCREDIBLES Randy Thom, Gary A. Rizzo and Doc Kane
  • THE POLAR EXPRESS Randy Thom, Tom Johnson, Dennis Sands and William B. Kaplan
  • RAY Scott Millan, Greg Orloff, Bob Beemer and Steve Cantamessa
  • SPIDER-MAN 2 Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Joseph Geisinger
Achievement in Sound Editing
  • THE INCREDIBLES Michael Silvers and Randy Thom
  • THE POLAR EXPRESS Randy Thom and Dennis Leonard
  • SPIDER-MAN 2 Paul N.J. Ottosson
No, seriously, there's something funny going on with Salma Hayek's decolletage. Penelope's shoulders are down around where they would be in a renaissance artist's idea of an ideal slope-shouldered woman, except, really, they would want her to eat something to be considered attractive. Anyway, the winners for Sound Mixing are for RAY, which is nice—now it has won something and everyone can feel comfortable with themselves. The winners for Sound Editing are the team from THE INCREDIBLES, one of whom is wearing a black tshirt under a tux jacket. He is an artist, you know. The "get off the stage" music starts up a perky, zippy beat before the second fellow gets two words out.

Salma Hayek introduces the song "El Otro Lado del Río" from MOTORCYCLE DIARIES and we have to see her chest again, which is frightening so late at night. I believe she reports that this is the first song in Spanish to be nominated. I'm not sure. I was looking for the seams around her breasts. I was also looking for Penelope Cruz, who seems to have merged into Salma and vanished. A sweaty Antonio Banderas sings for us. We don't even like him, but we swoon anyway, because he has a pretty smile. And rolls his Rs. And has really long legs. Oh my.

10:33 pm: A commercial sings "I'm on the top of the woooorld looking down on creation and the only explanation I can fiiiind..." and I have a sudden and disturbing flashback to being a tiny child. I think there are hippies around me.

Natalie Portman is sort of topless.

Documentary Short Subject
  • AUTISM IS A WORLD Gerardine Wurzburg; A State of the Art Production
  • THE CHILDREN OF LENINGRADSKY Hanna Polak and Andrzej Celinski; A Hanna Polak Production
  • HARDWOOD Hubert Davis and Erin Faith Young; A Hardwood Pictures and National Film Board of Canada Production
  • MIGHTY TIMES: THE CHILDREN'S MARCH Robert Hudson and Bobby Houston; A Tell the Truth Pictures Production
  • SISTER ROSE'S PASSION Oren Jacoby and Steve Kalafer; A New Jersey Studios Production
THE CHILDREN'S MARCH wins. I think Natalie Portman thinks she looks Classical. Rather than elongated. And naked. Robin chastises me: "ehh, if you're young and beautiful, you should flaunt it while you can." Oh, all right. Some day she'll gain a pound and her career will be over. Robert Hudson and Bobby Houston accept—one of them speaks... slowly... and is going to get musicked off, I just know it. The other stands elegantly and watches, thinking "I won't get to speak." And he doesn't.

Cut to Johnny Depp in the audience in a blue tux. He looks weird, and I heart him anyway. John Travolta presents for Original Score.

Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
  • FINDING NEVERLAND Jan A.P. Kaczmarek
  • HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN John Williams
  • LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS Thomas Newman
  • THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST John Debney
  • THE VILLAGE James Newton Howard
John A. P. Kaczmarek wins for FINDING NEVERLAND, and I can't hear his speech because Mother is ranting about misrepresentation of the AARP in a smear campaign. I should point out to her that I can set up a rocking chair and a swinging overhead lamp in the basement without any trouble.

Martin Scorsese comes out to announce something I also can't hear through the ranting on the other end of the couch. Ah: the Herscholt Award goes to Roger Mayer for humanitarian efforts. Roger Mayer is in charge of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, which helps the indigent and with film preservation. Unfortunately they helped preserve the print of "Gone With the Wind." Don't get me started. I can put up with that movie surviving, if it means a rescue of other films as well. We see the stock footage of film cannisters full of rust-coloured dust. We see all Mayer's family. Mayer talks about film foundations and preservation, and no one dares music him off. I begin thinking weepy thoughts about Roddy McDowall, reminded of the work he did in film preservation.

Annette Bening tells us about music, "film's handmaiden." She introduces YoYo Ma, who will be playing Sarabande over clips of all the people who died last year, and I will be even weepier.

Peter Ustinov—the best scene-chewing Nero ever—Fay Wray, Jerry Orbach, Howard Keel, Janet Leigh, Ossie Davis, Christopher Reeve, Paul Winfield, Virginia Mayo, Tony Randall, Brando, writers, directors, inventors, composers, animators, Rodney Dangerfield, and some guy called Ronald Reagan... who was never really much of an actor, but there you have it.

10:54 pm: Commerical break. About a half hour to go, and I think the ceremony may run on schedule. I am missing Monk for this, I'll have you know.

Next up, Sean Combs, because he is hip, to introduce the song from "a very hip and creative film," POLAR EXPRESS, so you can hook into your inner child and "Believe" (the title of the song). Beyoncé has progressed to a mermaid dress made out of an entire chandelier, and sings a duet with Josh Groban. Cut outs of train engines in the background puff smoke into the lighting. I beLIEVE! No, not really.

Prince is up next, and he is not wearing a tux at all. He is dressed as Prince. He will announce the award for original song.

Achievement in Music written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
  • "Accidentally In Love" from SHREK 2 (DreamWorks) Music by Adam Duritz, Charles Gillingham, Jim Bogios, David Immergluck, Matthew Mallery and David Bryson; Lyric by Adam Duritz and Daniel Vickrey
  • "Al Otro Lado Del Río" from THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES Music and Lyric by Jorge Drexler
  • "Believe" from THE POLAR EXPRESS (Warner Bros.) Music and Lyric by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri
  • "Learn To Be Lonely" from THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Warner Bros.) Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber; Lyric by Charles Hart
  • "Look To Your Path (Vois Sur Ton Chemin)" from THE CHORUS (Miramax) Music by Bruno Coulais; Lyric by Christophe Barratier
Jorge Drexler wins for "Al Otro Lado Del Río" from THE MOTORCYCLE DIAIRES, and he sings in a pretty little voice. Seriously, a beautiful, unaccompanied voice. Gracias, ciao, he says, and leaves the stage. Purty.

Sean Penn appears to have crawled out from the back of a bar, where he lost his tie. He stumbles through a little introduction then announces Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. The regular world knows this as:

Best Actress
  • Annette Bening in BEING JULIA (Successful Susan saw this and highly recommended it)
  • Catalina Sandino Moreno in MARIA FULL OF GRACE
  • Imelda Staunton in VERA DRAKE
  • Hilary Swank in MILLION DOLLAR BABY
  • Kate Winslet in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND
Imelda Staunton's VERA DRAKE was an amazing performance—small and quiet and pitch perfect, in an imperfect movie. Kate Winslet's was too early in the year. Will it be Annette Bening? Hilary Swank? It is Hilary Swank—the easy choice. Her backless dress shows every bone in her back... I don't see an ounce of muscle left on her. Her face is gaunt. Let me in the ring with her, I could snap her like a twig. They begin to threaten her with the music. A toot, then a threatening rumble. She won't leave. They begin playing the Magnificent 7 theme, and she has to be dragged off by horses. No, not really. But wouldn't you like to see that happen at the Oscars some day?

"Our next presenter is the first woman ever to breastfeed an apple," says Chris Rock, introducing Gwyneth Paltrow, who has a lot of 70s-ish MacMillan and Wife hair tonight.

Foreign Language Film of the Year
  • AS IT IS IN HEAVEN Sweden; A GF Studios Production
  • THE CHORUS France; A Galatée Films/Pathé Renn/France 2 Cinema/Novo Arturo Films/Vega Film AG Production
  • DOWNFALL Germany; A Constantin Film Production
  • THE SEA INSIDE Spain; A Sogecine and Himenóptero Production
  • YESTERDAY South Africa; A Videovision Entertainment Production
The Oscar goes to THE SEA INSIDE, and the winners scurry to the stage.

Samuel L Jackson is earing a non-tuxedo, too. Some sort of shirt with a roll collar and a... thing up the front... with a... sparkly thing at the neck. Anyway.

Original Screenplay
  • THE AVIATOR Written by John Logan
  • ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND Screenplay by Charlie Kaufman; Story by Charlie Kaufman & Michel Gondry & Pierre Bismuth
  • HOTEL RWANDA Written by Keir Pearson & Terry George
  • THE INCREDIBLES Written by Brad Bird
  • VERA DRAKE Written by Mike Leigh
No surprise that this goes to ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND. Yeah, yeah. Charlie Kaufman notes the countdown warning him of how much time he has... 28 seconds... 27 seconds... "Intimidating... I wanna get off the stage." He's charming, actually.

11:21 pm: Nine minutes and three awards left. It will run long, but, hopefully, not too long.

Charlize Theron is the next presenter. Her mermaid dress has bunches of grey taffeta all over it and really flares out too much to be a mermaid dress. Maybe a whale dress. This next award ought to in a beneficent universe go to Don Cheadle for the most significant performance of the year.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
  • Don Cheadle in HOTEL RWANDA
  • Johnny Depp in FINDING NEVERLAND
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in THE AVIATOR
  • Clint Eastwood in MILLION DOLLAR BABY
  • Jamie Foxx in RAY
Researcher Robin thinks it is between Cheadle and Foxx, and not Eastwood at all, since he will be recognised some other way. She says, "Imagine - from In Living Color to this." The winner is Jamie Foxx, in his blue pinstripe suit. Whaddayaknow. Foxx is making a speech I either heard before... or I am having a really remarkable case of precognition. Oh, right... he said that on the red carpet on his way in. So much for going out and betting all my savings on the horses tomorrow. Foxx gets briefly and stagily teary eyed, and they don't dare music off someone talking about his deceased grandma.

It is petty of me, but I remain weirdly bothered that Foxx doesn't match Ray Charles' distinctively gravelly speaking voice in the movie. The little details...

Ugh. I mean, oh, look, Julia Roberts. She slogs onto stage, unable to walk properly even though her mermaid dress is barely a mermaid dress at all. It must be way too tight around the hips.

Achievement in Directing
  • THE AVIATOR Martin Scorsese
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY Clint Eastwood
  • RAY Taylor Hackford
  • SIDEWAYS Alexander Payne
  • VERA DRAKE Mike Leigh
So, I am thinking, Eastwood for director, AVIATOR for best picture. The Oscar goes to... yes, Eastwood. His 96-year-old mom is in the audience. Wow. Let's have a round of applause for Clint Eastwood's mom! Says Eastwood, "I watched Sidney Lumet out there, who's 80, and I figured, I'm just a kid."

Hoffman and Streisand will announce Best Actor. I'm not sure anymore what anyone is wearing. It's a sort of grey silk blur.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
  • THE AVIATOR
  • FINDING NEVERLAND Richard N. Gladstein and Nellie Bellflower, Producers
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY
  • RAY
  • SIDEWAYS Michael London, Producer
There's a surprise: the Oscar goes to the boxing flick, MILLION DOLLAR BABY. Scorsese was robbed! Eastwood looks a little botoxed, but it's late, what do I know. 11:38 pm—not too far over time. The music starts, and Clint Eastwood says to his fellow winner, "keep talking." The music creeps back to a respectful distance. Don't mess with Eastwood.

Goodnight! That's all! It's over! Go party! Unless you're an ordinary person who has to get up in the morning! Bye! Thank you, Robin! Cue Music!

(Special thanks again this year to Robin the Indefatigable for research assistance tonight and to come, and to Kris for Zhiyi Zhang. There's only so much a Critic can keep track of on her own without benefit of rum and ice cream)

Posted by OutsideFood at 08:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

Site attacked (as usual)

Something in the rash of spam comments that have been loaded onto the site has ended up making several reviews completely inaccessible.

I honestly don't know why these same-old-same-old spammers bother trashing a little, low-traffic site like this, unless they get some sort of schoolyard-bully pleasure out of adding hours of extra work to someone's labour of love. Any of you spammers care to comment on this? (My prediction: a bunch of nonsense comments with links to poker websites.)

I hope to restore the missing reviews and repair the site soon.



Posted by OutsideFood at 08:58 AM | Comments (49)